Bad Call, PBS!

I have just experienced Warholis Interuptus.

While watching the 2-part American Masters: Andy Warhol program on PBS, I hoped that at some point an interview with the artist would be shown. The interviewees were great, and the show is astounding, but numerous people talking about Warhol felt imbalanced. I wanted to hear something from the man himself. (Although an actor, imitating Warhol’s voice, read from his diaries in certain segments, it still wasn’t an actual interview.) Lo and behold, my wish was granted as the end credits began to roll. I heard about 6 seconds of the interview when suddenly, the screen split in two and PBS began a promo spiel that lasted until the last 3 seconds of the credits.

If I were the director or writer, I’d be raising holy ned about now. I know enough about film to understand that what goes on during the end credits is often the “big red bow” that ties the entire piece together. The writer put that stuff there for a reason; it’s not an afterthought. A film does not begin and end with what most people consider to be the most entertaining part, that is, the body. The top credits and the end credits are the appetizer and dessert. It’s there for a reason, especially when there is more content to be considered.

It’s pathetic that a network that boasts that it is based on supporting the arts will cut into one of their own programs in this way…and on a piece about the arts. And why? So that I could see and hear promo about the Andy Warhol program and how I can buy it. Excuse me, but what about your patrons? If we send in our pledges, why in hell should we have to buy the DVD to see the piece as the writer and director intended me to see it? I went to the PBS site and left a comment–polite, but to the point.

Rant over.


  1. I hate the way they do that. Forget being able to actually read the credits after a movie, even on premium stations these days. The worst one is Law & Order reruns on TNT. As they roll the end credits for one show at the bottom of the screen, they start the intro for the next one at the top of the screen.

    Then again, credits have become a bit outrageous. If you look at movies even in the ’60s, the credits just included the stars and main production staff. None of them ever listed the “best boy” or “key grip.” I think much of it is a way to expand the length of a movie without having to spend money on the actual story.

    The Warhol interview should have been within the body of the show. You’d think that directors/ producers/ editors would know that such a thing is likely to happen and work around it.

  2. I can kin of see it with movies, but not on a documentary, especially through something as high-class as American Masters. I don’t recall that they did this with the Bob Dylan program they made.

    Having worked in a documentary, I understand why all of the people who worked so hard should want to be recognized at the end of a piece. It helps them get future jobs. Our grip, Scott Burton worked his butt off, and our production managers worked 24 hours a day.

    Still, I see your point, but it’s too bad that writers should have to manipulate their piece to accommodate network promo, especially when many documentaries play at film festivals and on indy stations. Who to please, the audience, cast and crew, or the promo department?

    I sit through the end credits of a movie so that I can hear the composer’s score in its entirety. During the film, all we hear are repeated motives.

  3. "I sit through the end credits of a movie so that I can hear the composer’s score in its entirety."

    Also, some movies have fun little bits right at the end of the credits.

    Who to please…?

    The bottom line is that it’s all about the bottom line.

  4. I saw that too and was just as annoyed, but then (weird creature that I am) I’ve always considered the credits to be an integral part of the whole.


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